YUPThis October—two months before George Whitefield’s 300th birthday—Yale University Press will publish George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father, by Thomas Kidd, professor of history at Baylor University.

Mark Noll writes, ”This superb chronicle of George Whitefield’s life is now our fullest biography for the much-studied and much-debated eighteenth-century evangelist. It combines unusual empathy with unusual comprehension.”

Here is Yale’s description:

In the years prior to the American Revolution, George Whitefield was the most famous man in the colonies. Thomas Kidd’s fascinating new biography explores the extraordinary career of the most influential figure in the first generation of Anglo-American evangelical Christianity, examining his sometimes troubling stands on the pressing issues of the day, both secular and spiritual, and his relationships with such famous contemporaries as Benjamin Franklin, Jonathan Edwards, and John Wesley.

Based on the author’s comprehensive studies of Whitefield’s original sermons, journals, and letters, this excellent history chronicles the phenomenal rise of the trailblazer of the Great Awakening. Whitefield’s leadership role among the new evangelicals of the eighteenth century and his many religious disputes are meticulously covered, as are his major legacies and the permanent marks he left on evangelical Christian faith. It is arguably the most balanced biography to date of a controversial religious leader who, though relatively unknown three hundred years after his birth, was a true giant in his day and remains an important figure in America’s history.

Later this month Crossway will publish John Piper’s latest book, Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully: The Power of Poetic Effort in the Work of George Herbert, George Whitefield, and C.S. Lewis. And if you want to read Whitefield for yourself, the most accessible resource is Lee Gatiss’s two-volume set, The Sermons of George Whitefield.

Here is a recent lecture on Whitefield from Dr. Kidd delivered on March 25-26, 2014, at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville (which is hosting a conference on Whitefield and the Great Awakening this October):

George Whitefield: Lessons from Eighteenth Century’s Greatest Evangelist from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.